Prince Albert has soon become the place to visit in South Africa. Both locals and internationals that seek peace and quietness are all fond of this beautiful little village. 4 hours away from Cape Town, in the middle of the mythic Karoo, Prince Albert is the place to discover.
Going to Prince Albert to relax, buy a house or simply for a week end break has not become the new thing for many South Africans from the big cities. The tourists love this charming little village and the people from the city love it to to escape their stressful city life. But some, have gone much further, by making the decision to move there permanently, tired of the city life and all the stress related to it. That’s exactly what my parents did. They now live in an old modernized mud house, and turned the bungalow into a beautifully charming guest cottage with an amazing view on a field of olive trees.
Going there to recharge with positive energies has become a ritual for me. Far away from my speedy lifestyle, these few days away from the city life allow me to reconnect with the nature, watch the milky way once the light has fallen, and also eat organic food. Despite the small size of the village, there is a very famous dairy called Gay’s Dairy, which produces cheese, yogourt and cream that are to die for. On Saturday mornings, the people from Prince Albert as well as the tourists, all gather together atthe market where the local doctor sells the vegetables that he took straight out from his garden (like my father does). Do not miss as well the famous olive oil Prince Albert Olive and Kredouw and the olives by O For Olive.
At first sight you might think you’ve landed in a village inhabited by hyppies but they are really just people who want to escape globalization and go back to a more simple life. Voted in South Africa as one of the most beautiful villages of the country, Prince Albert is worth stopping by if you get the chance. Nested below the legendary Swartberg Pass, that connects Prince Albert to Oudtshoorn, it is considered as one of the most spectacular and beautiful in the whole country and apparently of the world.
From there you can also go to Die Hel (The Hell). You either love or hate this strange place, which really is a hidden and lost little valley. The road is not easy and the accommodation very basic, as they all are old spooky abandonned houses. So if you want a good change of scenery I strongly recommend it, and if you like off road biking to as the road is loved by bikers.
The sceneries that surround Prince Albert are really breathtaking and my favorite when it comes to shooting a fashion editorial.
You sometimes wonder if you are still in Africa or in Nevada in the United States, with all those beautiful aloes, cactuses, and red rocky mountains that seem like they came straight out of a movie.
The tourist office offers guided tours for people who want to discover those beautiful landscapes but also know more about the indigenous plants and other little miracles of the nature. For the stars lovers, don’t miss the Star Gaze Walk in the evenings.
If nature and hiking are not really your thing, I strongly recommend you check out the Avoova shop that sells amazing designs objects made of ostrich eggs as well as Karoo Looms that sells mohair carpets made at the back by local women while singing.
Karoo Collection also as a lot of nice things, like furnitures and collectable pieces from well known artists and I always enjoy stopping by to buy something, should it be a piece from Brett Murray or a little crush on something else.
Unfortunately don’t excpect to find amazing restaurants in the village. It really is the only thing missing to make this place perfect. For breakfast or brunch, try out the Country Store (an antique store), for lunch, La Di Dah, and have dinner at The Gallery.
With all this change of scenery and relaxation, I must admit that doing a little detour through Prince Albert on my way back from Afrika Burn was the perfect choice to slowly and nicely getting back to a normal life….
See: The Swartberg Pass drive
Sleep: The French Cottage, + 27 82 342 9852 [email protected]
Eat: The Gallery Café, +27 23 541 1197
From Cape Town, take the N1 towards Paarl. Going to Prince Albert is a 4 hours drive.
The Karoo is very arid and thus very dry. During summer (November/march), the temperatures can rise above 45 degrees. The heat can become unbearable and the sun be very strong. During winter (may/august) the nights can become very cold with the temperature going under 0 with sometimes snow on the top of the mountains.